Methylparaben is used to preserve food and cosmetics. It is a fungicide and anti-bacterial agent, extending the shelf-life of a product.



Used as a food preservative and has the E number E218.

Methylparaben is commonly used as a fungicide in Drosophila food media. To Drosophila, methylparaben is toxic at higher concentrations, has an estrogenic effect, and slows the growth rate in the larval and pupal stages at lower concentrations.

Methylparaben is quickly absorbed through the skin, and through the intestinal tract when used as a food preservative.



Methylparaben is widely used as a preservative in various cosmetic products. It is typically found in combination with other parabens, such as propylparaben and butylparaben to provide a broad spectrum preservative effect. Cosmetics that contain methylparaben include makeup, hair care products, moisturizers and lotions, shaving products and toothpastes.


The preservative effects of methylparaben also protect pharmaceutical products from contamination by microorganisms. Topical antibiotics, preparations of corticosteroids, ophthalmic medications, herbal preparations, parenteral solutions and other pharmaceutical products use methylparaben. Even certain antibiotics, such as aqueous penicillin, are protected from fungal contamination with methylparaben.


Because methylparaben is an effective inhibitor of molds, yeasts and other microorganisms that commonly grow on food products, it is frequently used as a food preservative. Methylparaben may be found in baked goods, creams and pastes, jams and jellies, syrups, processed vegetables, oils, seasonings, dairy products, and beverages. Methylparaben is frequently used to inhibit the growth of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can cause the often fatal illness of botulism.


In a 2004 study published by the Journal of Applied Toxicology, 18 of 20 malignant breast tumors showed high concentrations of parabens, which are known to mimic estrogen in the body and affect the growth of breast tissue. Dr. Darbre, one of the chief scientists on the study, acknowledged that “One would expect tumours to occur evenly, with 20 per cent arising in each of the five areas of the breast … But these results help explain why up to 60 per cent of all breast tumours are found in just one-fifth of the breast – the upper-outer quadrant, nearest the underarm” (Source). Not all deodorants contain parabens; however, many beauty products in addition to deodorant contain parabens, including face cream, body lotions, cleansers and shampoos.


Please talk to your doctor.

Other names

Methyl paraben


Source: Live Strong,









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